Having had our pleasures goosed by Odin’s wind courtesy of Metal and Curry, the recent single from Welsh Viking bred rockers Sacred Wind; there was no option but to check out the album from which it comes. Released towards the rear of 2014, the thirteen track adventure, also going under the name of Sacred Wind, reveals the full landscape and creative emprise hinted at by our first introduction to the band.
The album is a tale of bold knights, even bolder flatulence, and a rampant hunger for cheese, not forgetting a few buxom women draped around a curry or two. Even more potently the album is bulging with glorious heavy metal and classic rock psalms of heroic deeds and Norse seeded challenges. From its first moments there is no doubting that Lord of the Rings/ Game of Thrones have found a richly mischievous companion in Sacred Wind, an alternative reality comparison, but that cannot hide or devalue the impressive craft and roaring sonic might of band and album.
Opener A Time of Magic is a vocal introduction between grandfather and child, be it a kid with the squeak of an adolescent aged forty plus with one ball dropped and one hovering. Questions from the latter bring an unveiling of the scenery and drama behind the album’s premise from the former, a telling of the background to the quest undertaken by the noble warriors regaled through the songs. These brave souls are called Sacred Wind and the following album title track, their opening scene. Hefty rhythms and fiery riffs make an immediate impression upon ears; the guitar hooks an almost predacious lure matched by the heavily throated bassline courting their attitude. Subsequently keys and raw melodies add to the canvas upon which Memphis bred Viking and vocalist/guitarist Olaf the Berserker reveals the narrative. It is a pungent offering, old school and swiftly anthemic.
The impressive opening song is matched straight away by Metal and Curry, the track similarly an inescapable anthem but with a lighter swagger to its gait and harmonic roar. Whilst meaty hooks and melodic tenacity from Olaf and Grundi the Windy are thrust through ears to seduce the senses, a rhythmic stomp provided by bassist Smid the Merciless and drummer Agnar the Hammered ensures neck muscles and imagination are flush with an appetite to devour the song’s tremendous contagion.
Already Sacred Wind is lighting body and emotions like a mix of Gwar meets Green Jelly meets Judas Priest, though that only narrows down what is a much broader flavour to the album. The band’s humour is just as open and ripe too but only in the lyrical and thematic adventure, their sounds a blaze of creativity and exciting endeavour which has plenty for all metallers, let along those just honed in with just a taste for classic rock ‘n’ metal. It is fair to say though that Hurricane Ass next is purely steeped in seventies metal bred in a bed of similarly aged classic rock. Begging for the power of a certain bodily function to help woo a prospective love, the song flames with sonic enterprise and vocal harmonies, transfixing ears as it heads towards to a firework like display of a finale, beats exploding across its melodramatic sky.
The combative character of Warriors of Asgard takes the success of its predecessor to new heights next, the track sinew and ferocity as the warriors take arms to rescue damsels in distress. Equally though it is unafraid to light their way with beacons of melodic ingenuity through the guitars and the symphonic yawn and soar of keys. The track is a delicious cinematic like escapade, not only a potent visual offering for the imagination to run with but simply an infectious slice of melodic metal.
Both the eighties kissed Sail with Me and the climactic bellow that is Rock, Rock, Rock, Rock Ragnarok keeps things on appealing and satisfying course, though neither can rival the some of the previous encounters. The first covers an emotional realisation brought by romance and the other an apocalyptic incitement to the Gods. Each brings new diversity and intrigue to the album leaving thoughts engaged and enjoyment contented is without setting a fire in their attention, something the power ballad Frigg certainly manages with its dark grouchy shadows and sonic balladry of vocal and melodic expression. Strong the first time and increasing its lure thereafter, the track is a slow burner which as quite a few songs upon Sacred Wind has the ability and persistence to flirt with the memory whenever it wishes.
Fart for Odin, by title alone, needs no help in explaining its narrative to the imagination, it a bar room ode and mead fuelled anthem within a tempestuous sonic and rhythmic turbulence. It is another thumping antagonist to body and fun though soon surpassed by the outstanding Dragon Ships and Women’s Hips. Impossibly virulent from its first sweep of vocals and initial tease of melody, the song brings rock pop from the late seventies, glam metal from the eighties, and nineties folk metal in one irresistible catchy croon. Think Alestorm meets Duran Duran and you get an inkling of the majestic lure of the pinnacle of Sacred Wind.
The battlefield brings the background to My Sword is my Sword firmly into thoughts, the power metal offering soon expanding its tale with horn like calls of the keys and predatory rhythms around the vocal roar of Olaf, all courted by the cantering invention of the guitars. Its spicy persuasion is followed by the celestial instrumental hymn of The Sheep’s Lament, which in turn makes way for the closing celebration of The Power of Cheese, though why anyone would want to crow so favourably about the mouldy stuff beats us. The song, as the previous track is a bonus offering on the album, and brings the release to a riotous yet melodically sizzling end.
It would be wrong to think of Sacred Wind as a one off good time to file away as you might a Green Jelly or in some ways a Steel Panther offering. Lyrically yes it is a roaring laugh but musically album and band stand side by side with any power metal, classic rock offering, just with an extra dose of mischief. Produced and arranged by Andy Coffey, who has a much bigger hand in things then you might suspect, including writing the excellent books which accompany the album’s story, the album is recommended to anyone with an appetite for strong, accomplished, and most of all enjoyable full fat metal.
Sacred Wind is available now via iTunes, Amazon etc. and the Sacred Wind books @ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Andy-Coffey/e/B00LXLNW64/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
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